4 suspected package thieves arrested in Yakima during USPS sting operation
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Some Grinches seem to be making their way through Yakima neighborhoods.
And the United States Postal Service and Yakima police are doing something about it.
Four suspected thieves have been arrested, this week during sting operations carried out by the US Postal Service.
"We do have packages that we put out. We’re doing surveillance and some other things in order to identify these people who are stealing these packages, and then we’re making arrests based on that information we obtain," said Postal Inspector Anna Weller.
According to reports, on Tuesday morning, the post office placed GPS trackers into two packages, and left them on the doorsteps of homeowners, with their permission.
Sure enough, they say two men stole the packages from Gilbert Drive and West Yakima Avenue, and YPD was able to track them down.
32-year-old Robert Wentz and 33-year-old Joshua Schroeder were arrested and face charges of theft and possession of stolen property.
Police say they admitted to stealing other packages, too.
Bing Holm who has lived near Yakima Avenue since 1971, says package theft isn’t something new in his neighborhood.
"We’ve had several incidents like that happen, not too long ago. And, its hard to sometimes express to the drivers to put the packages in a safe, guarded place, and they’ll put them right on your front step, and all of a sudden, they might disappear," said Holm.
Holm says he tries to be the eyes and ears of the neighborhood, and looks out for his neighbor’s deliveries.
"We’ve found packages of our neighbors and we would take them and hide them till they got off work to get home, because you never know who might be dropping by and pick that package up," he said.
Holm’s neighbor Jim Grippin says while he hasn’t been a victim of package theft, he has had Christmas decorations stolen.
"We had some lawn decorations out. The aluminum deer that you can buy at a hardware store. They came and stole a couple of those and some of the laser projector lights," said Grippin.
To prevent yourself from becoming a victim of mail and package theft, the post office says retrieve your mail and packages as soon as possible, have the post office hold your mail, or ask that they leave your delivery behind a bush or in your backyard.